Ben Bateson(ousgg)United Kingdom
Ross-on-WyeOi! Hands off...
Again, I have been frustratingly remiss with my blog updates, so it's yet another quick double-shot from the heart of West Mercia.
Putting aside our recent run of three-handers, there were fully four (four!) in attendance this week, although Tony - as is his wont - was somewhat later than the rest so JP, Becky and Ben opened with Samurai: The Card Game. The certain knowledge that Tony wouldn't have enjoyed a Knizia was confirmed when he came in halfway through (Tony, not the Good Doctor), and breathed a sigh of relief that he wasn't actually playing.
The game, is very very Knizia, with a thin and frankly uninteresting theme pasted over a set of solid abstract rules. Three players was almost certainly the wrong number, and I suspect it might make a much better 2P game. The amount of tabletop real estate it demands is frankly ridiculous when playing with 2, though. John won this one on a tie-break when I was stuck with a hand of powerful cards at the end. Time for a deck-building variant?
My having neglected to bring the cards for Agricola (doh!), we plumped instead for the forthcoming Snowdonia as our main event. The game is starting to grow on me, it's true, and I'd certainly recommend it for people's 'to watch' list at this year's Expo and Essen. Perhaps the best aspect of it is a satisfactory length which means it can easily be teamed up with another 2-hour game on games night and not necessarily feel like the light option.
It helped that I took advantage of some rare Welsh sunny weather to hoover up the excavation options early on, and when the game finished itself prematurely, I was able to sneak a win with plenty of points on completed bonuses, much to the designer's disgust as he finished well short of the field. Apparently I'd 'never beat him at Coppertwaddle', though.
Skyline of The World was next up, a game which received faint praise from Tony as it progressed, which is usually as much as a newcomer can hope for. JP got a little bit marginalised, and it would appear indeed that a 4P game is difficult to balance if there is a mixture of experience at the table - this game is similar to games in other genres (Modern Art, Endeavour) that poor, random or non-optimum decisions can have disturbing ripple effects that destroy other people's games. I won this one too, stealing the orange prime building sites and pipping Becky when she failed to make her game-end target.
Mucho sillio to finish in the form of a couple of rounds of the barking-mad For Sale(unfortunately in the shape of my first edition with only 20 building cards - anyone want to trade?). Downsized edition or no, it's still lively, fun and so quick that everyone enjoys themselves without thinking. I still love it, win or lose - I did one of each.